William Saunders slammed into another car while eating nuts and fiddling with his radio.
William Saunders slammed into another car while eating nuts and fiddling with his radio.

Snacking on-the-go causes multi-vehicle crash

SNACKING on nuts while fiddling with the car radio turned out to be one distraction too many for a Brisbane Valley driver.

An Ipswich court heard the man collided with the rear of another car in a crash at Wanora on July 29 last year.

The impact sent the second vehicle into the path of an oncoming car on the Brisbane Valley Highway, causing serious injuries to both female drivers.

William James Saunders, 55, from Coominya, pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to driving without due care and attention causing grievous bodily harm.

Police prosecutor Ricky Tsoi said Saunders had no criminal history and only some traffic offences.

"It is a serious example of this offence and happened at 4.15pm when the road would have been busy," Mr Tsoi said.

"By his own admission he was familiar with this road and drives it five days week between his home and work.

The court heard Saunders had been driving within the speed limit of 100km/h when he hit a Toyota RAV 4 from behind.

The Rav 4 had slowed down to turn up a side road.

"He said when he started to brake it was too late to avoid a collision, " Mr Tsoi said.

"He said he was distracted and not concentrating on the vehicles in front of him."

The court was told Saunders was eating nuts and adjusting his stereo moments before the crash.

"It caused quite significant injuries to two people. The doctors reports speak for themselves along with the two victim impact statements," Mr Tsoi said.

Because the charge is still relatively new in Queensland the court heard there were no comparative cases or sentence on appeals to consider.

Defence barrister Stephen Kissick said Saunders travelled 62km to his work at Wacol and was a welder by trade.

"Averting his eyes from the road it is at the lower end," he said.

"He was not using his phone.

"There was a familiarity with the road. It was dead straight and at an intersection with a minor road."

Mr Kissick sought a fine of $2000 and that no conviction be recorded against Saunders.

Magistrate Peter Saggers put more of the police facts on the record, saying Saunders was driving in a north-west direction when he collided with the stationary Toyota RAV-4, which was waiting to turn right.

This impact propelled the RAV into the path of an oncoming Toyota van.

One woman suffered serious injuries to her upper and lower right leg.

The other woman driver suffered pelvic and abdominal injuries, and leg fractures.

"You told police quite frankly that you were looking down adjusting the radio and eating peanuts from the centre console," Mr Saggers said.

"It caused you to be distracted. Not concentrating and you didn't see the brake lights.

"You were two car lengths behind and travelling at 100km/h."

Mr Saggers convicted and fined Saunders $3500, with his licence disqualified for six months.


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